Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Snow

Last night, as I left the local Arts Council Coffeehouse, the snow was starting to fall.

Snowed all night.

Snowed all day.

3-4 inches on the ground now.

I am kicking back, ready to watch Da Bears, and enjoying a Sam Adam's Winter Lager. (read about it at Contagion's as well)

All in all, a good weekend, except for having cattle out at 1:30am this morning when I got home. I will try to post some pictures of the Turkey Shoot yesterday. Got some neat shots of flintlocks at ignition.

To celebrate the season, I share a video of someone's Christmas light display synchro'd to the the Trans-Siberian Orchestra song, "First Snow."

Friday, November 28, 2008


Thanksgiving was good. Small family gathering. Parents, grandmothers, Aunt, Uncle and Cousin to be. Watched some football. Played some guitar. Good Day.

Worked today. Crappy day.

Turkey Shoot at Fort Obie. Muzzleloading Rifles, Smoothbores, and Longbows. I am running the bow match.

Arts Council Coffeehouse in the evening.

Probably goose hunting Sunday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Music Monday-My Old Kentucky Home

Allow me to introduce you all to a friend of mine, the American Troubadour Bill Schustik.

I met Bill at the 2008 Alafia River Rendezvous in Florida. I was sitting in camp having a conversation with The Man From Ohio when suddenly my ears beheld the sound of a sea shanty. Looking toward the performance stage, I see a man dressed as if he has just disembarked from a ship in the harbor. Of course, I wandered over to listen. As I stood and sang along with several of the shanties he was doing, one of the others in the audience noticed me. After Bill finished his set, the audience member came over and introduced herself. She was the entertainment chief for the Alafia. I introduced myself and told her how impressed I was. So she took me up and introduced me to Bill. We talked and I told him where I was from and made refernce to the Spoon River. Without missing a beat, he immediatley asked about Edgar Lee Master's "Spoon River Anthology" and if I had ever heard the piece, "I am, I am" form the live showw. I had not and he sang a few bars. We talked for a while longer. Later that evening, they had the showcase of all the people providing entertainment in a special concert. Bill was the last peformer. The entertainment chief introduced him by saying "He know the music of the time, and he knows the story behind the music." Exactly. He performed a few numbers and ended with the full version of "I am, I am." I was blown away. After he exited the stage, he walked right up to me and asked if I noticed the song he did. Of course, I had. We talked for a while longer.

After I returned to Illinois, I e-mailed Bill about trying to get him up here for an event or two. It didn't happen but I am still holding out hope for next year. And that when I return to the Alafia in January 2009, he will be back.

Anywho. This week's Great Music Monday is a classic piece of Americana. "My Old Kentucky Home." Composed by Stephen Foster and performed by American Troubadour Bill Schustik. He will break into the music occasionally and tell some history of it. Pay attention. Valuable Information.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not that many Scots!!

I live in the land of the Swedes. Seriously. 7 miles from my hometown, there was a Swedish Socialist "Utopia on the Prairie" in the 1850's. Today, if your last name doesn't end in "son" you are strange.

That is what makes this story so strange. You see, the county I live in has a new title. It used to be we were the Hog Capital of the World, as this county was one of the largest swine producers in the Country. Now, were are the largest SHEEP producing county in the State. As of January 1, 2007, Henry County had 3,700 head of Scotsman's Special Friend. Compared to the next county, which has 2,900 head.

I just can't figure out why there are so many sheep with so few Scots in the county.

I could understand if it was up near Contagion's. He is a surly Scotsman. But not around the Swedes. It just doesn't make any sense.

Why do Scots wear kilts? Because zippers scare the sheep.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

RIP-Ronnie Drew

I logged on to YouTube tonight and saw a video that caught me off guard. It was about the release of "The Last Session: A Fond Farewell." A new CD by Ronnie Drew, released this month, following Drew's death August 16th.

I never heard that Drew had passed. Damn.

For those of you who don't know the name Ronnie Drew, he was one of the founding members of The Dubliners (originally known as the Ronnie Drew Group), one of the most famous Irish bands in the world. Luke Kelly was also a member of The Dubliners, who made an appearance in a Great Music Monday post and are on the list for several more visits.

Here a a few videos of Ronnie to appreciate.

First, very old footage of the Ronnie Drew Group performing McAlpine's Fusiliers. Drew is the singer sporting a dark and short beard which would become a sort of trademark for him over his life.

This next video is of Ronnie from the documentary movie The Dubliners' Dublin" which is described as a tour of great watering holes. "In the Rare Old Times."

Next, is one of MANY collaborations The Dubliners did. This one is with The Pogues performing "Irish Rover."

In 1995 Ronnie left The Dubliners and recorde solo. This video is of a St. Patrick's Day performance in London in 2003 of "I'll Tell Me Ma."

And finally, a tribute to Ronnie released actually shortly befor his death. This video is a bit of who's who of music from Ireland. U2, The Pogues, The Corrs, of The Dubliners, and several others that I don't recognize right off hand, performing as a tribute. "The Ballad of Ronnie Drew."

Ronnie Drew

Monday, November 17, 2008

Great Music Mondy-Turdy Point Buck

Well, not really. This weeks selection does not even come close to Great Music. But as the first firearm season for deer in Illinois opens this Friday, I felt it had to be posted.

Quite frankly, I have been getting a little bit of buck fever. In my light scouting around, I have identified two very nice bucks running the property. One is an 8-pointer, the other is somewhere between 8 and 15 points. If I get a deer or two, there will be pictures here.

In the middle of this picture is the bigger of the two bucks.
Poor quality and low zoom cell phone picture.

I solemn celebration of this hallowed weekend, this weeks Not So-Great Music Monday is the deer hunter's classic "Da Turdy Point Buck."

Good luck to all the hunters, be safe.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Redneck Moving Crew Returns!

A couple months ago, I told you about the Redneck Moving Crew.

They made their triumphant return today. Not moving desks out windows, but a dog kennel. A 10-1/2 foot long dog kennel that is 4 feet wide and 5 feet tall, weighing somewhere between 300 and 400 pounds.

With winter about to set in, I wanted to get Omar the Wunderpuppy's kennel moved from the tree line North of the house to the South side of the house, where it will be protected from the wind and so that I can put a heating mat in the dog house attached to the kennel.

The experience started by lifting up the front end of the kennel and propping it up so we could back a truck underneath it. Problem. Prop not long enough, Legs won't clear the tailgate. So I hold the front end of the kennel up while dad backs truck into place. With the truck back as far as we can go, we then slide the kennel over the fenders to the front of the bed. Problem. The legs are 8 feet apart. Bed with tailgate down=less than 7 feet. (Remember, we don't measure before beginning action) Ah, what the heck. it'll ride alright. So dad begins the drive with me walking beside the kennel to help stabilize. As we take off across the yard, there is a decent hump to start up the hill. As the truck goes up the hump, the legs that didn't make the bed drag on the ground and almost pull the kennel out of the truck. Crap. "Put a block under it." So we put a 4x4 under it and that gave us enough clearance to clear the hump and make it across the yard. Pull around the the South side of the house and examine where to put the kennel. (Pre-plan? What's that?) The unload went about like the load. Slide out to the back legs, I hold the front up the air while dad drives out from underneath.

We then start the process of moving the kennel into position. I was trying to move the dog house end of the kennel closer to the house, when I don't know if Dad moved the other end or if I slipped or what, but the kennel jerked and the roof of the dog house tried to collapse my windpipe when it smacked me in the throat.

Finally, we go the the kennel in place so Omar can be nice and comfortable all winter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1 Month

One month from tonight, December 13, I will be going to see this:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Great Music Monday-Theme from Schindler's List

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Also known to many, especially those who are more experienced than I, as Armistice Day or to some as Remembrance Day.

The Armistice was signed at the 11th hour, of the 11th Day, or the 11th Month in 1918, thus ending hostilities of World War I.

Tomorrow is the 90th Anniversary of the Armistice. The last I heard, earlier this year, there were only 3 Veterans of WWI still alive in the United States.

My Great-Grandfather served in The War to End All Wars.

My Grandfather and Great Uncle both served in World War II. To read my reflections on their service, I told a short version of their story on the 64th Anniversary of D-Day.

I have many friends and Brothers who served in Korea, Viet Nam, the first Gulf War, and now the War on Terror.

So tomorrow we all take just a couple minutes out of our "busy" lives to say THANK YOU to all who have served in our Armed Forces. Those who have stepped up to the plate, willing to give "That last, full measure of devotion" to their Country.

So with this spirit, I searched for a selection that could capture the importance of tomorrow.

What I found, was a theme song. The "Theme from Schindler's List," composed by John Williams and performed by Itzhak Perlman.

In case you don't know the story of Schindler's List and Oskar Schindler, here is a very short synopsis. Oskar Schindler was a member of the Nazi Party, who saved the lives of over 1,200 Jews from the Concentration Camps by employing them in is two factories.

The theme is incredibly powerful. I found myself choked up at the end.

So, for those who pushed across Europe and the South Pacific, for those who fought in the Trenches of the Great War, for those who fought to halt the spread of Communism in Korea and Viet Nam, for those who fought to free Kuwait, and for those who fought in Granada, for those who fight today in Iraq and Afghanistan, for those who serve in Germany and Korea and Japan, for those Citizen Soldiers, and for those who stepped up to the plate and signed on the dotted line, Thank You from the deepest regions of my heart. You are why this Country is great. And to you, I dedicate this song.

Please leave thought and ideas in the comments.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Need Advice

I know some of you my readers are like me and into guns.

Well, for those of you, I need some help. I am looking to buy an AR-style rifle prior to inauguration day, just to be on the safe side.

My issue is, I am most particularly interested in one chambered for the 7.62 x 39mm (also known as the AK round). The only company I have found that actually manufactures an AR rifle in this chamber is DPMS Panther Arms.

They have two different models, the 20" barrell Panther, and the 16" barrell Panther.

Mostly what I will be doing is target shooting and predator hunting. But, ya never know what can happen. Just want to be prepared.

The main reason for the 7.62 x 39mm is because I think .223 is undersized and basically, an overglorified .22, and a .308 is really expensive to shoot. But 7.62 x 39, I can buy Mil Surp in 750 and 1,000 round sardine cans pretty cheap, as well as lots of other brands out of Eastern Europe/Asia.

The advice I need is what kind of luck anybody has with the DPMS guns and in particular the 7.62 x 39. Or if someone can convince me of a different caliber or manufacturer for the same kind of money for the gun/ammo.

I figure I have about 65 days max.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Presidency Defined

Think back over time and previous Presidents.

There always seems to be one to three major defining moments or issues in a Presidency whether they had anything to do with the moment or not.

W.: 9/11, War in Iraq/Terror, Economic Collapse
Clinton: Oval Office Sex
H.W. Bush: "Read My Lips, No New Taxes" and raising taxes, The first Gulf War.
Reagan: Fall on Communism/Berlin Wall
Carter: Total Ineptitude on everything

But Barack Obama (who doesn't even become President-Elect until December when the Electoral College meets to vote) has already had the entire term defined by the MSM. And it only took 15 minutes of the drivel about it to wear me out.

The issue is of course, race.

Wednesday morning I woke up and turned on NBC (We only have 5 networks at my house, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS) and from 7:00 until 7:15 all they did was talk about how Obama was the first black President. And how proud Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King would be.

What a crock of crap. Why should it matter. Rev. Dr. King talked about being a "Colorblind Society." Too bad that concept is totally lost. Obama's Presidency is completely about him being black.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I'm Gonna Print a T-Shirt

I have a plan for a T-shirt that I want to print for wearing during the next 4 years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Great Music Monday-Shenendoah

This week's Great Music Monday song has been recorded by many, many artists going back to before the 1950's.

The lyrics and tune of the amazing "Shenandoah" will take you down "the wide Missouri."

The story of a young man who falls in love with the daughter of Indian Chief Shenandoah.

The tong will haunt you or take you to a village on the river. Amazing.

I have posted 4 different videos of the song by different artists.

1. The Legendary Tennessee Ernie Ford.

2. The American Tenors

3. Hayley Westenra-Hit play and listen, but don't pay any mind to the pictures flashing. Granted she is good looking but they photos don't fit with the song. But the voice is amazing.

4. The Statler Brothers. This one is a little faster than I would normally do this song but it is good with great harmonies.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Busy Weekend

Friday: Did nothing for Halloween. Packed the truck for the weekend.

Saturday morning: Up and around early, leaving the house by 7:00 to hit the road. Drove to the kennel where I got Omar. Got there between 9:30 and 10. After a short discussion with the kennel owner and a run for Omar, I was on back on the road. From the kennel I had to get to a 12:00 Masonic Lodge meeting in Milton, WI. I arrived about 11:15 and proceeded to get changed into 18th century dress. The lodge meeting is for a regularly constituted plural membership traveling Masonic Lodge. The meeting lasted about a hour and a half. At least I dodged a train during the meeting. When it came time to begin the election of new officers (one of the primary reasons for having this meeting), the current Worshipful Master suggested that he wouldn't mind staying in the East for another year, as he is trying to organize having a Lodge meeting in Wyoming next July. No one complained so I get to stay in the South for another year.

Saturday afternoon: After the meeting, I headed back down the road to Janesville to get checked into the hotel. As I was hauling my stuff up to the room, I see two good looking women waving from the pool. Not something that normally happens to me. I look again and it is Red and Ktreva. So after dropping off my stuff I head into the pool area where Wil and Contagion are sitting at the hot tub drinking beer. Of course they offered me a beer and I couldn't turn it down. After a couple hours at the pool, it was time to get ready for the Ball. Literally.

Saturday Night: Wil, Red, Contagion, Ktreva, and I headed to the Women's Club Building for one of the coolest events of the year. The Ball started with Hors d'ourves and social time. At 6:00, we had a fine meal of Pork and vegetables, followed by a fine cake. I had prepared ahead of time and had a different wine for each course of the night. First, was a Leacock's 3-year old Rainwater Madeira as an aperitif. For the main course, I had a fine bottle of Williamsburg Winery Two Schilling Red-a semi-sweet red that was a perfect compliment to the pork. For dessert, I had a Leacock's 5-year old Malmsey Madeira. Following dinner, it was getting rather warm inside so I headed outside, along with several others. Within 10-minutes there were about a dozen folks standing outside and cigars were being passed. I was offered an Acid Wafe cigar. it was a good short smoke, in a really strange shape. Very fine. Finally, it was time to start the music. Everyone headed upstairs where the band was ready. The evening started with the Grand March and then there would be a couple of period dances followed by a couple songs by the band, The Stonering. This was the third year I have attended the Ball, but the first time I actually danced at it. The biggest lesson I learned. Hobnails on granite floor=VERY BAD. More than once I damn near ended up in the splits as a foot tried to slip out from underneath me. Note to self. Next year, put non-slip pads on the the bottom of the buckle shoes. The Ball finished with the three traditions. "Goddamn Dutch" (the song that got me flipped off in a bar one night), "A Toast to the Company" (as most of the people attending were members of the ONW Company), and a final Waltz. After the band finished, a drunken Wil kept requesting that I sing "Parting Glass. After a couple minutes of me trying to explain that this was not my show, Wes ( of Bodhran Roll, Please) started into the song dragging me along with him. So we sang it, and were joined on the chorus by several others and the Host of the evening singing the whole song with us. It really sounded good. After we got back to the Hotel, we gathered in Wil and Red's room for after Ball social hour. Buffalo Summer Sausage, Kitchen Cooked brand Cheesy Poofs, cookies and beer.

Sunday morning: Wil, Red, Contagion, Ktreva, and I went to breakfast and then it was back on the road. Time to go back and pick up Omar. When I arrived, he was running in the big run with his Grandpa T-Bird, Grandma Deia (and Italian Immigrant), and Tubby. I talked to the breeder and he said Omar was a very good boy. Also said he looked good, and he was impressed by how well responded to the commands and could tell that Omar has been very well socialized. He also commented that he was big (58 pounds Wednesday when we went to the vet to get a supply of Heartguard). Finally, he said that his color looks a lot like his old dog, Guido, and said that if Omar turns out half as good a hunter as Guido, he'll be a great dog (Guido had some really good prizes in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association). Before we left, the breeder planted a couple of pigeons in launchers out behind the kennel and we took Omar out for some live bird work. It was beautiful. He was out working in the field and you could see when he caught wind of the bird. A couple of seconds later he had the bird located and locked on point. I should have taken a picture. Some dogs point only about 2' in front of there face, but Omar was between 5 and 10 feet back. A nice distance and one time I came up in front to flush the bird and the other the breeder moved up and Omar remained steady as we moved up and to the flush. Right after the flush he broke point and went to the launcher. It was absolutely amazing. Next weekend, we will be in the field hunting pheasant or quail or chuckar. We also grabbed a couple of frozen birds and used them get Omar interested in retrieving. He actually retrieved the birds basically to hand with a slight bit of coaxing. I was thrilled. It is really getting exciting.

Finally, we headed home, listening to the Bears game.

A good weekend.